Talent Acquisition – Ways to Diminish Pressure and Refine the Process of Finding Skilled Labor

Finding skilled labor to fill a position is the responsibility of every hiring manager. Out-of-the-box talent acquisition strategies set apart organizations and recruitment personnel should spend time devising recruitment drives that capture the imagination of potential applicants. Without the use of industry-specific innovation and trends, recruitment often gets stuck in a rut.

For instance, in scoping out the right talent for their organization, recruiters might sometimes lose sight of the big picture. The big picture of how scarce the right talent is, how the costs of recruitment often upset hiring budgets – is seen only by senior HR managers. A condensed outline of their points of view can ease day-to-day operations for hiring managers.

The talent acquisition process – a function of existing job market conditions

The first thing to be understood by hiring managers is that there is a limited pool of skilled labor and more demand for their skills than the existing supply. Of these, the skilled labor who are readily adaptable and open to learning are even fewer. Hiring managers are constantly under pressure given that the market is applicant-led and not employer-led. To compensate for this problem, hiring managers pass-up perfectly good candidates based on one criterion or insist on checking out large masses of applicants. This skews the entire talent acquisition process and results in a dismal conversion rate.

Common flaws that make hiring skilled labor tougher than it needs to be

Hiring managers are the first point of contact with the talent pool available. They have to strive hard to be realistic so that nitpicking does not eliminate good prospects from forming the potential assets for an organization.

Once a job description is written out, the responsibilities listed out can cause hiring managers to get bogged down in the details and overthink each requirement. Pressure comes in the form of a rushed recruitment drive that is not planned thoroughly. In other cases, training for new recruits may not be in coordination – all these points have to be taken into consideration.

A common perception among hiring managers that recruitment should be conducted speedily often results in their rejecting some candidates merely for moving slower than they expected.

Talent acquisition is a holistic process in which, by several stages, and preferably by more than one judge, the decision whether a candidate and a company’s requirement have a meeting point is made after due consideration. It amounts to more than scanning a résumé or making a preliminary phone call to a referral. To offset the skewed metrics and set them right, here are a few guidelines that can help reduce the burden of a talent acquisition team.

1)    Volume-pressure

A hiring manager can often be bombarded by pressure from the top to go through an absurd number of applications or résumés with the idea that a wider pool of talent means positions can be filled more quickly or with greater efficiency. This isn’t necessarily true. A whole stack of résumés may still not have the right candidate that meets the needs of a particular job description.

The best solution is to shortlist – and this can be done through several rounds until at least 3-5 probable candidates are finalized. At this stage, each one of the candidates would have solid reasons for making the cut, and they deserve to be looked into further through the next levels of interviewing, background checks and checking for references.

Surveys conducted indicate that if a hiring manager goes through several rounds of interviews and does not find anyone to suit, there may be a problem with the hiring process and the criteria. It is important to review the candidates and adjust expectations instead of rejecting all the available candidates and constantly looking for new leads.

2)    Meeting of work culture

Hiring managers are human too, and along with their assessment criteria, they may also carry biases. They might be tempted to hire someone because they “like” the candidate. A positive predisposition towards any of the attributes such as where the candidate has studied or worked before, or personal attributes might cloud the perspective of a hiring manager.

In assessing work culture, while there are no right answers as to how the ideal professional is, there are attributes that fit a company’s functioning better than others. Some companies prefer independent decision-makers while others look for leaders who see each decision as a collaborative effort. Finding the candidate who fits well into the existing work culture reduces the amount of training required and the whole alignment process is easier and faster.

The better approach to rise above personal bias is to look for someone who has proven expertise. For instance, when hiring a manager, a hiring panel should look for people who have experience with teams, who have successfully handled conflict and dissent, and so on. Proof in leading teams through times of upheaval or organizational change would attest to the exemplary characteristics of a leader.

3)    Simplifying hiring panels

More is not necessarily better in another area of hiring – and this is where the number of people on the hiring committee is concerned. It is not necessary to convince and take the vote of several managers before hiring a candidate. Rather, the reasons for hiring someone need to be tangible, quantifiable ones. When these are in place, it does not matter whether the whole department is convinced of the hire.

Depending on the importance and hierarchical level of the person being hired, the number of people involved in the hiring decision may increase or decrease. An entry-level position can be filled with as few as two people on the panel. For chiefs of operations or other functional areas, the impact is larger and the number of people on the panel can be 3-5.

If more people are brought in, it usually becomes a challenge to schedule the physical presence of all these people, and a lot of resources would be wasted. Simplifying the hiring process depends on having fewer clashes of timings and resources.

When these simple guidelines are followed, hiring managers as well as heads of Human Resources find that the talent acquisition process is streamlined. There are learning to be found in the mistakes that take place during hiring, and these can be put down to refine the hiring process further down the line.

Reference: Rachel Mucha, Talent Acquisition: 3 ways HR can guide those picky hiring managers in the right direction, HR Morning, May 10, 2019

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